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Thread: Pokémon - Catering to A New Demographic?

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    Default Pokémon - Catering to A New Demographic?

    A report released last year from Club Nintendo, along with subsequent reports from the Japanese sales analyst group Media Create, revealed that the current age range of most Pokémon game players is 19-24.

    According to Club Nintendo, this is a huge leap from the Gen 4 era, where the majority of players were in the 7-12 range. It seems the Pokémon audience has grown significantly, but the question at hand is this: will the franchise grow as well?

    Now, I honestly have not seen too many children playing Pokémon games since around 2007. It's pretty clear the fans have grown up and taken a great hold on the series. Is it possibly time for GAME FREAK to let the Pokémon series mature? Should we expect more mature themes and imagery (apart from Dahlia's belly ring and Wallace's pelvis showing)? Is it even a good idea for the series to mature.

    Personally, I think now is a better time than ever to see more mature themes. The characters in the newer games sure do seem to suggest an impending change, but I can't be too certain. Well, what do you folks think? Is it time for Pokémon to mature?
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    Only if Game Freak is not a diamond level hardhead where they still think it is mostly the preteens and preschoolers playing their games.

    But then, there goes the Masuda Junichi's well-known comment in the recent year saying Pokemon series should cater towards the casuals and smartphone users as nowadays people had less time to play.

    So even if they know their customer demographic had changed, but when they shift their overall target to non-game-console players and overall game production strategy to casual playing no more than 10 mins each time, it is just meaningless to have Pokemon become "mature" filled with sophisticated themes, because still you won't find yourself devote all your passion into the game as the gameplay itself doesn't encourage player to continue playing day after day, you still find yourself be bored very soon.
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    Personally, I'm not too sure if Pokemon should mature. Arguably the most 'mature' games in the main series were Black and White, and their 'maturity' felt quite half-hearted, and, for m at least, ruined the story a little. I'm not sure if I trust GameFreak to deliver complex, mature storytelling.

    Even if they did, though, I don't think that Pokemon would work as a more mature game. The more seriously it took itself, the more obvious some of the strange aspects of the Pokemon universe would become.

    I'm fine with them removing some of the more 'kiddy' things in Pokemon, but I think that making the games more 'mature' and adding in complex themes and story goes against the nature of Pokemon, at least in part.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceOfFacade View Post
    Now, I honestly have not seen too many children playing Pokémon games since around 2007.
    Are you around children much? Because I volunteer at an elementary school and can testify that Pokemania is alive and kicking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Umbreon View Post
    Are you around children much? Because I volunteer at an elementary school and can testify that Pokemania is alive and kicking.
    I don't think it's safe to say that alone clarifies there is a grand amount of children still playing Pokémon.

    Now, I'm not saying kid players are scarce, or even non-existent. It's just becoming less and less common as the years go by.
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    I was going to type up a long-ish post with a bunch of points you should've addressed, but this Siliconera article probably goes into better detail than I could

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    Quote Originally Posted by Excitable Boy View Post
    I was going to type up a long-ish post with a bunch of points you should've addressed, but this Siliconera article probably goes into better detail than I could
    I've read the article, and it makes a great deal of sense. Even Mortal Kombat, which I love, has had to depend on younger audiences to keep the series going.

    However, my personal opinion is a bit different than that of the article. As the article stated, children now have a plethora of entertainment options to choose from, especially with the existence of mobile phones. It seems more children are playing games on their phone than on a console. I strongly feel GAME FREAK attempting to crossover to the mobile field is a big detriment, because it will have to compete with a huge heap of content, and let's face it: Pokémon is not as popular as it used to be.

    It is my most honest opinion that if GAME FREAK wants to keep the series going, it needs to shift the nature of the game into a new direction, away from children. The video game scene will always be dominated by teens and young adults, and that's where I feel GAME FREAK's focus should be. Every year there are newcomers to the gaming world, but these newcomers aren't seeking kid-friendly banter and fun-loving creatures. They're seeking hardcore stuff!

    As the article stated, Pokkén Tournament is a clear branch towards more mature audiences, and I think that just may be the start of it. Who knows? Gen 7 could present a great change in the development of the Pokémon series.
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    Yet a game with diamond and pearl's difficulty level will actually be better received than XYs by the older population.

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    If by becoming more mature you mean the story, I couldn't care less. I never played pokemon games for the story and never will, it's such a non-factor. As long as the new pokemon have good designs, and the game is packed with loads of great content I'll be happy playing. I don't know if Contests or the Battle frontier count as "mature" adds to a game, but they are what makes the game good. Look at Pokemon Amie. A child can enjoy it appropriately as well, and yet it's a great feature which adds a lot to gameplay. I don't care about maturity as much as having lots of fun content
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceOfFacade View Post
    I don't think it's safe to say that alone clarifies there is a grand amount of children still playing Pokémon.

    Now, I'm not saying kid players are scarce, or even non-existent. It's just becoming less and less common as the years go by.
    Allow me to clarify my position. I've been working with kids since the end of Gen 3. For over a decade I've listened to kids debate their favorite Pokemon. Every year I see Pokeballs hidden in art projects. Every year I watch the Pokemon books sell out at Book Fair. I can't believe that the number of children playing Pokemon has decreased when my day-to-day life tells me the opposite.

    However, I can believe that the PERCENTAGE of Pokemon players under 18 has decreased. Anyone who is 19-24 now was 7-12 when the original Ruby & Sapphire came out. It logical some of them lost interest during Gen 4 or 5 but came back for ORAS. This influx would increase the overall number of players and tip the scales in favor of the older age bracket. It does not mean that the younger bracket had to have lost members.
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    As long as Pokemon does not go into GTA or COD terratority the series should be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Umbreon View Post
    However, I can believe that the PERCENTAGE of Pokemon players under 18 has decreased. Anyone who is 19-24 now was 7-12 when the original Ruby & Sapphire came out. It logical some of them lost interest during Gen 4 or 5 but came back for ORAS. This influx would increase the overall number of players and tip the scales in favor of the older age bracket. It does not mean that the younger bracket had to have lost members.
    The shift actually started in 2011 during Gen 5, not with ORAS.

    In fact, the info seems to point a bizarre shift in demographics from Gen 4 to Gen 5. Pokémon Diamond & Pearl saw a large child audience and a very small teen and adult audience, but Black & White had a triple increase of teens and adults, while the child audience dropped by about 30% (or somewhere around there). This means not only did the older fans grow up, but newer teen and adult players joined in as well. By X & Y, it was reported via Media Create that the age range had reached 19 to 24. So, ORAS really only threw in a few more folks.

    I honestly wouldn't be surprised if by Gen 7 the 7-12 range becomes considerably small. I've seen kids around Chicago playing Pokémon games myself, but we do have to see this from a global scale, not just in our own backyards. Just as there are a great deal of kids playing Call of Duty, there are a great deal of teens and adults playing Pokémon.
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    Lol I tried to be coherent, but this came off more like a "stream of conscious" than anything, sorry.

    Wouldn't Pokémon catering to a new demographic make Game Freak no better than Sega with their Sonic franchise? Not that I don't doubt the competence of Game Freak in being able to pull it off better than Sega ever could, but it risks the possibility of alienating others, both casuals and fans, and Pokémon's (almost) always been a series that seems to have something for everyone. It's more kid-friendly in nature and is formulaic to boot, and that's totally fine, but there's still elements to the games that continuously bring in an older crowd, nostalgia-factor or not. Sure, I don't doubt there's been some maturity in the more recent main series of games that a kid may not catch on to, which would suggest they're aware of the older demographic or they had that sort of passion for that particular game, but for all I know, it's more "down-played" in the translation when it comes over here. I was legitimately a bit surprised that X/Y had war in the back-story, even though I don't think that makes it any more or less different in terms of maturity than the previous generations.

    But that's just counting the main series, the spin-offs seem to deviate from the path more openly, with the Mystery Dungeon games being the best example of this. Explorers of Time and Darkness is still the darkest, most mature I've seen the Pokémon franchise go (with the games, anyway), and I would love to see more of that, but I shouldn't get my hopes up in that aspect. It's not like there's really a need for it to become mature as long as it doesn't affect the entertainment value. It's more like a bonus than anything else.

    And technically, wouldn't Pokémon Adventures actually be the example of Pokémon catering to an older demographic, if you want to call it catering? It attracts a lot of older readers, I've noticed, probably more-so than the games themselves, though that seems to be because the characters and plot are more developed, and it separates it from the games and anime (which has always had a split fan-base, haven't exactly seen the same ire with the manga like I have for everything else).

    So I guess the point I'm trying to make is I don't think Pokémon should really "cater" to anyone, and we should just let it do its own thing like it has for years. If Game Freak wants to experiment with the franchise, they have the rights to do so regardless if it's "mature" or not. We never got into Pokémon because of its story or maturity in the first place, that wasn't the point to begin with. We're still going to enjoy the hell out of the games anyway because the entertainment value will be there, and that's what matters the most.
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    I still find it incredibly creepy that an adult plays as a kid when playing these games.

    But I can't stay away since the games are so awesome.

    I wanna be able to play the Pokémon games without being embarrassed by the fact that I'm basically an adult in a kids body.

    As long as there is an option of playing as an adult I will be happy.

    And who is to say adults can't enjoy the creativity the Pokémmon franchise has with the creatures? That is the main reason I'm such a huge fan in the first place. And I also love the challenge in competitive play.
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    I don't think making Pokemon more mature is a good idea, that limits their audience a bit (although personally I wouldn't mind another game in the Colosseum/XD series). They should strive for their games to be accessible to as many people as possible. If there's anything they should do in response to this demographic change, they should reverse some of the policies they've adopted in 5th and 6th gen to dumb the games down, because then they're going to start to lose their adult demographic if they keep making games that insult the player's intelligence.
    Last edited by Bolt the Cat; 27th May 2015 at 11:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaze The Movie Fan View Post
    I still find it incredibly creepy that an adult plays as a kid when playing these games.

    But I can't stay away since the games are so awesome.

    I wanna be able to play the Pokémon games without being embarrassed by the fact that I'm basically an adult in a kids body.

    As long as there is an option of playing as an adult I will be happy.

    And who is to say adults can't enjoy the creativity the Pokémmon franchise has with the creatures? That is the main reason I'm such a huge fan in the first place. And I also love the challenge in competitive play.
    Is it really that big of a deal? While Pokemon is a RPG, it's not necessarily a self insert. It's not like the character is supposed to look like you anyways, so what your character looks like shouldn't be that big of a deal. A lot of games have you play as kids. Also, I don't think kids ever complain that Mario is an adult or something like that.

    Anyways, I find these "aging demographic" statistics to be dubious at best. One came from Club Nintendo, which means it's based off of Club Nintendo surveys, which younger children don't bother with. Even though I've been buying Nintendo games for years, I only started doing Club Nintendo when I was 16. As for any other surveys, how would they really know? It's not like young children are buying the games themselves or answering phone/online surveys. I've always thought of younger children as the silent majority. Sure, if you hold an online poll about Pokemon, most respondents will be over the age of 16, but that would only be because the actually majority of kids don't do online polls generally. Even if this demographic shift is true, that does not mean Pokemon should change. Let's be honest here, there's a reason that we all play Pokemon, we admit it's childish, but we still play it. If Game Freak starts to make changes to appeal to a more "mature" audience, then they would be making fundamental changes to the series that we all fell in love with. I for one would not want the series to stray to far from its roots because of this. The most drastic changes I would encourage would be to go back to the difficulty level and story complexity of fourth gen. Anything more than that is overkill.
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    The games have a particular charm that I hope will never ever change. Am I the only one who feels that it SHOULDN'T make a more mature turn? If it does, it will lose its charm, and therefore destroy my interest...

    And this is coming from an adult (Who's always a kiddo at heart)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolt the Cat View Post
    because then they're going to start to lose their adult demographic if they keep making games that insult the player's intelligence.
    How is removing features who people who only buy the games for the Pokémon don't care about insulting their intelligence?

    Contests, trainer tower, seasons, these are all great, but they aren't the main reason a lot of people buy the games.

    I personally don't care about any of that stuff, I only care about being able to get some great Pokémon. So my intelligence isn't being insulted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bguy7 View Post
    Also, I don't think kids ever complain that Mario is an adult or something like that.
    That's because they don't analyze things like adults do.
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    As far as the series' image goes, I think its right about where it should be. Its primarily light hearted, and that's part of the charm with the series (even among older fans). At the same time, I don't think they've really been afraid of going into more mature matters, necessarily.

    These past two generations in particular dealt directly with matters of war and human conflict. Especially BW, which was even geared toward a growing audience with older characters (Black/White, Cheren & Bianca) trying to figure out what they want out of their lives. Colosseum took us to the seediest part of the Pokemon world, but without being so edgy that it becomes Shadow the Hedgehog unrecognizable. Even the very 1st Generation wasn't too shy about things like the Pokemafia, gambling, Lavender Town, or the Mewtwo Project.

    etc.

    The only thing is, again, its not their primary image. And I really don't think it should be. It'd be best for them to strike a good balance and cast a wider net for a series that's generally enjoyed by people of all ages already. A complete focus shift could run the risk of alienating people.

    I think Pokemon Origins is something of an example, at least personally. I didn't find it very engaging because of how different the atmosphere is. The charm that helped to pull me into the franchise to start with was basically gone. It felt dull and lifeless compared to what I've grown up with in the anime, or even Pokemon Adventures (which is well balanced). And I know there are other older fans who feel the same way about the series in general (they like the nature of it).
    Last edited by Emperor Empoleon; 28th May 2015 at 1:59 AM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaze The Movie Fan View Post
    How is removing features who people who only buy the games for the Pokémon don't care about insulting their intelligence?

    Contests, trainer tower, seasons, these are all great, but they aren't the main reason a lot of people buy the games.

    I personally don't care about any of that stuff, I only care about being able to get some great Pokémon. So my intelligence isn't being insulted.
    I wasn't talking about them removing side features, I'm talking about things like making the regions linear and limits on gym leader rosters, those are the kinds of things I want to see reversed. They've been limiting the experience far too much for the sake of kids and casuals, and with those demographics decreasing in the fanbase, there's no point in this kind of design philosophy.
    Quote Originally Posted by LizardonX View Post
    Tabitha has really let himself go, just how many lava cookies did he eat in the last 11 years?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolt the Cat View Post
    I wasn't talking about them removing side features, I'm talking about things like making the regions linear and limits on gym leader rosters, those are the kinds of things I want to see reversed. They've been limiting the experience far too much for the sake of kids and casuals, and with those demographics decreasing in the fanbase, there's no point in this kind of design philosophy.
    Yeah you are right, to be fair I have a problem with being forced to go a specific path as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bguy7 View Post
    As for any other surveys, how would they really know? It's not like young children are buying the games themselves or answering phone/online surveys.
    that's why professional polling organizations that are attempting to poll children, such as Media Create, don't employ that methodology

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Empoleon View Post
    As far as the series' image goes, I think its right about where it should be. Its primarily campy, and that's part of the charm with the series (even among older fans).
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Empoleon View Post
    AsAnd I know there are other older fans who feel the same way about the series in general (they like the campy nature of it).
    you keep using that word

    I do not think it means what you think it means

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    Quote Originally Posted by Excitable Boy View Post
    that's why professional polling organizations that are attempting to poll children, such as Media Create, don't employ that methodology
    What do they do then?
    Join Ash and Pikachu as they travel to the Tenno Region, a region known for its advanced space program and technology. Along their way towards the Tenno League and becoming a Pokémon Master they'll encounter new Pokémon, new enemies, such as the evil Team Planetary, and, of course, a certain trio of Team Rocket members, with friends new and old.

    Check it out!

    Also, for an enhanced reading experience, news, reviews, and special features like a Tenno Region Pokédex listing all of my custom Pokémon, complete with pictures, visit the Pokémon Cosmic Quest Official Website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Excitable Boy View Post
    that's why professional polling organizations that are attempting to poll children, such as Media Create, don't employ that methodology
    Letting kids vote in anything is a terrible idea, because their brain is not fully developed yet, some might have the mindset of an adult, but most don't.

    Adults are more capable of voting since they analyze things, children don't.
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    I'd like a game wherein the protagonist is driven to defeat the bad guy team by revenge, wherein the bad guy team is, maybe, responsible for the death of a relative of the protagonist.
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